the physical

I like my small-but-not-too-small breasts.
The arch of my left eyebrow.
The defined points of my canines.

I like my long lashes.
The placement of my tattoos.
The dancer’s arch in both my feet.

I like my hourglass figure.
The way my hip bones are visible amid my soft curves.
The definition in my calves.

I like my bellybutton, an innie that’s halfway towards being an outie.
The slenderness of my waist, and the way it curves outwards into hips.
The shape of my ass, and the fullness of my lips.

I like my natural brunette hair, and my blonde highlights.
The rich brown of my eyes, even though I sometimes wish they were green.
The height of my cheekbones, and the softness of my skin.
I like my side cleavage.

I like that my leg hair grows back slowly and sparsely, and that I have long fingers. That I can walk on my toe knuckles, and do the splits. I like my flexibility, and my new knees (better than the old ones, at least). I like the way my nails look painted, and the way my brows look plucked. I like the silky feel of my hair, and the fact that, most of the time, people don’t notice when I’m not wearing a bra. I like being one inch above average in height, and the definition in my left arm when I move it. I like my laugh, and my smile, when it’s captured from the right angle.

I like all of these things, and I’m learning to love them. Together, as a whole. As my body.

Mine.

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the end

oh they say people come, say people go…
so how come things move on, how come cars don’t slow?
— Coldplay, “Everglow”

They say time heals all wounds, and for the vast majority of hurts in my life, they’ve been right. I’m kind of sad, actually, that the feelings have faded. Are arguably gone. Does that make them less real? Devalue what that experience was for me? It’s strange how time and distance change things. How something that once felt so important or powerful can, in a matter of days or weeks, feel like nothing. In a way, it’s a relief; a weight has been lifted off me and I’m back to feeling normal. At the moment, I never want to catch feelings again.

The interesting thing is, nothing happened. When I say there’s an absence of feelings, that includes hard ones, at least for me. I obviously hope it all fizzled out on good terms for both sides, because I like him and his friends, and it would be fun to cross paths again some day, if time and distance coordinated themselves properly. I’m okay, just like I knew I would be. It’s easier this way, and I’m honestly grateful things worked out the way they have. My guy friends told me to ghost him, since nothing tangible would come of staying in touch, but I couldn’t. Didn’t want to. I suspected, and can now confirm, that ceasing regular contact would cure me of my feelings, but I’m glad I navigated my own path to figure that out. Glad it was him, and not me, who stopped communicating. I learned a lot by allowing myself to feel and experience real interest in someone. Although, the dissipation of energy makes me wonder how real it was, after the initial onset. It’s something I want to reflect on more, given that I’m often carried away by dreams, only to realize later that it was the idea, not the person, that enthralled me more than anything. I’m not sure that was completely the case this time around, but it probably played a part.

I think if it began again, the feelings might return. If I saw him… Well, I don’t know. I’ll probably never know. And that’s okay, too. People come and go from our lives, and I’ve learned recently that you can’t hold on to everyone, even if they’re good. Sometimes people are good but not good for you, and other times relationships require more energy than they’re worth. I’ve said it before, but there are too many people in the world to waste precious time on the wrong ones.

I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight
I’m a motherfucking woman, baby, that’s right.
— Kesha, “Woman”

When I began listening to Lord Huron, I connected with the lyrics of “The Night We Met.” Not because I wish none of it happened; not at all. But because I can relate to the story they tell, and the idea that someday I might not be so lucky as to have no regrets. Also, on a note relating to Lord Huron, but not to the rest of this post at all, “The Yawning Grave” sounds eerily like it was written and sung from God’s perspective, an observation I hadn’t noticed until my friend Dillon pointed it out. The song is absolutely tragic, haunting, and beautiful.

I tried to warn you when you were a child.
I told you not to get lost in the wilds.
I sent you omens and all kinds of signs.
I taught you melodies, poems and rhymes.

On a happier note, the longer I’m here, the more well-adjusted I feel. I’m a chameleon; I adapt to the circumstances of wherever I am, just like my accent changes depending on who I’m talking to. The adaptations aren’t purposeful but, given enough time, take place regardless of how much I’m missing the world or how hard I try to speak normally. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain this… adaptivity, but I’ve already thought and written a lot today, as well as endured a full day of recruitment prep and applied for both an internship and a job. So my thinking tank and energy levels are both nearly expired for the night, and I might have to come back to this topic later.

Thank you, J, for the memories, and M, for so boldly being who you are. I’m glad our paths crossed, if only for a moment in this brief and beautiful period we call life.

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meet me in the woods

I took a little journey to the unknown,
And I come back changed. I can feel it in my bones.
— Lord Huron, “Meet Me in the Woods”

It’s been weird, being back. At first, I was stuck in Tampa, bored for two weeks. Now, I’m in Gainesville for my sorority’s recruitment process, and I’m unsettled. I feel restless, dissatisfied, and neither utterly happy nor unhappy. Not content, but not discontent either. I’m yearning for more, but trying to adjust to what will be my reality for the next four months, the life I loved just four short months ago in the spring.

I’m a long way from the one that I loved
I’ve been tending old flames, lamenting what was.
— Lord Huron, “Way Out There”

I’m experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance, because sometimes sorority life, and especially the recruitment process, goes so much against my values as a feminist that I want to scream. Sororities are organizations meant to uplift and support women, yet in some ways they restrict and belittle them by making decisions for them and attempting to control, or manage, their behavior, dress, etc. I don’t know how the others don’t see it, how they don’t feel a twist inside their gut every time our chapter advisor gets up to instruct us about wearing Spanx, every time mandatory spray tan sign-up lists get posted, every time we’re told how to act around boys so that they’ll like us. How it doesn’t raise their hackles when nationals rejects our event proposals because they’re “too dangerous,” “too much of a liability,” a “PR risk.” All of these examples show a lack of trust in our ability as grown women to make our own choices. Instead of acting as institutions with women’s best interests at heart, sororities have become national enterprises that aim to guide women according to their standards and, in doing so, discourage them from choosing for themselves what those standards should be. It’s not just my chapter or sorority; it’s all of them. While there are amazing qualities about my sorority that keep me in it, like the sisterhood (it sounds cheesy, but it’s real), sense of community, wonderful friends, and other perks, the superficial, petty, and misogynistic elements that are associated with Greek life as a whole sicken me. Some elements of sorority life, like the recruitment process, are so antiquated, and others mandate conformity or degrade women, even though the people in charge (and most of the chapter) don’t seem to see it. I know they don’t mean badly, but that doesn’t matter to me, nor does it minimize the harm done in a society where women are already held to high and ridiculous double standards.

I been unraveling since my birth
Gonna wander out there and see what I’m worth.
— Lord Huron, “Way Out There”

For the last two years, I’ve been in limbo. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or study and I constantly changed my mind about both. There was no plan; I had no single ambition or goal to strive towards. In the spring, I finally accepted this state of being, embracing my passion for history and the concept of living in the moment. I’d figure it out eventually, and that was okay. But then I took a backpacking trip to Europe for nearly three months this summer, and I came back changed. Different, in some ways. I’ve always been independent and aware of the world around me, but traveling alone increased those qualities tenfold. And for the first time in a long time, perhaps with the strongest conviction yet, I realized, or rather felt: this is what I want to do. I want to see the colors of other skies, swim in faraway seas, dance on narrow cobblestone streets at night, and howl at the moon in a field full of wildflowers. I want to live through every time change, experience different cultures and levels of development, taste exotic foods, and, to put it simply, see the world. Traveling this summer taught me that I could do it. I met people who travel for a living, or work jobs that allow them the opportunity to travel often. It’s within reach now, except for the fact that I’m at university for the next few years and probably shouldn’t won’t drop out. And that’s all good and well, because most of the people I met were at least a few years older than me and had gone through university or a traineeship or something that kept them from traveling longterm for awhile. I have to remind myself that I just have a head start, that I can be in their place in a few years if I want to, that I’m not “missing out.” But watching their Snapchat stories and reminiscing on the amazing time I had, it’s hard not to have a little bit (or a lot) of FOMO. To feel like my reality is a waste of time, and that I’d learn, see, and do so much more if only I were somewhere else. I realize it’s not the best attitude, and I’m working on it, because once school starts and recruitment is over, reality will get better.

But it won’t be the same as it was in the spring, and neither will I.

What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given
If all you do is stand in one place?
— Lord Huron, “Ends of the Earth”

p.s. Thank you, Kat and Delaney, for letting me talk through my thoughts; Sarah, for commiserating with me; and Dillon, for recommending Lord Huron in my time of need. I am blessed to have you all in my life. xx

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breathe

“Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here”
— Birdy // Bon Iver, “Skinny Love”

Today was the most stressed out I’ve been in a long time. Packing is always stressful, but moving is… completely overwhelming. It feels like I just unpacked and shoved away everything, but that was over three months ago and I haven’t been home to notice the time flying by. Tomorrow I’ll drive the familiar two hour route from my hometown to my college town, a drive I also haven’t done in three months but still have memorized. I can visualize it; it’s actually beautiful, with the farmland and woods and hick towns rolling by. It’s a rather lonely route, but I enjoy it; it gives me a chance to think, and to belt out the lyrics to whatever tunes I happen to be in the mood for. Tomorrow though, I’ll be driving with a very chatty friend who I also haven’t seen in three months, so there won’t be much time for thinking (probably some singing though).

With her sweetened breath, and her tongue so mean
She’s the angel of small death and the codeine scene

Today I got the strongest urge to sell everything I own. Why do I have so many things, and why am I so attached to them, fearful of letting them go? I lived with so little while I was in Europe, and was completely fine. Life was more simple in so many ways while I was gone. I was content to wear the same clothes and shoes and makeup for months on end, yet when I’m home, I care about fashion, avoid re-wearing outfits and, apparently, enjoy owning an excess amount of shit. I mean stuff. But honestly, it’s ridiculous and I don’t need 99% of it. While I try to slim down my wardrobe and assortment of knick-knacks, I intend to keep this overwhelmed feeling in mind whenever I get the urge to buy something new. DON’T DO IT, HOE. (not slut-shaming myself)

With her straw-blonde hair, her arms hard and lean
She’s the angel of small death and the codeine scene

I honestly just needed to write tonight in order to decompress from my hectic day of packing, even if it’s about trivial matters. I saw two movies this weekend, the new Spider-Man and Dunkirk, both of which were excellent. Spider-Man was hilarious. Thomas Holland did a fabulous job playing a whiny, yet goodhearted, pubescent American teen—I was amazed by his accent in the film because it was SO convincing. Dunkirk was unlike any war film I’ve ever seen. The timing, the shallow character development, the constant switching of perspectives between air, land, and sea, front and home, and the focus on survival instinct contrasted with acts of bravery and selflessness all stood out to me. As an added bonus, my boy Harry did a fantastic job in his debut film. *snaps*

And everybody’s watching her
But she’s looking at you

A few days ago, after I took her out to lunch, my sister told me she felt fat. Fortunately, I was parked, because I think I might have abruptly slammed on the brakes should I have been driving. She’s ten years old, eleven in a month, and I was shocked. It’s starting younger and younger these days, the shame and self-distortion. And it saddens me beyond belief. I asked her what she meant, why she feels “fat,” and she explained that her stomach felt very full. So she was full, or bloated maybe. She assured me she knows she’s skinny (she is), but regardless, it disturbed me to hear the words uttered from her mouth. In the hours that followed, I made a connection: young girls probably start saying they feel fat after eating because their stomachs are full, perhaps causing them to protrude farther than they normally do, or during certain times of the month because they are bloated. They use the word “fat” because it’s so commonplace in society, and they are probably surrounded by women who use the word to describe similar conditions or feelings. Some might even be imitating their older peers, saying such things because they want to fit in. But as time goes on, the word develops an evermore negative connotation, and repeating it over and over when describing themselves leads to believing that they really are growing fat, rather than remembering or realizing what they first meant when they started using the word. In order to counter this misunderstanding, which can lead to numerous tragedies such as eating disorders, low self-esteem, and body image distortion, the dialogue surrounding food, health, and body image needs to change. I believe it’s important to explain to people, especially young girls, how their bodies work and why they might feel bigger after eating and why that’s perfectly normal and okay. I believe we should stop and have the difficult conversations, like that I had with my sister, and encourage people to use the right words to describe their feelings so that the development of guilt surrounding food and eating doesn’t perpetuate for generations.. I want us to teach young girls about their bodies and their minds so that they understand, respect, and love them.

“Pretty is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a woman.”

I may come back to my thoughts regarding that last paragraph later, as I’m very passionate about it and feel I haven’t done the topic justice. But it’s nearly 1:30 am and I’ve got to be up at a decent hour to finish packing and load my car. (what. a. nightmare.) So on that rather depressing note, here are some (more) quotes.

If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.”

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